Ilkay Gundogan is expecting "one of the toughest games of the season" when his Manchester City side host Stoke City on Saturday.
The 26-year-old Germany international midfielder has made two Premier League appearances for City this season having returned from a nine-month knee injury lay-off as a substitute in the 6–0 Premier League win at Watford on September 16.
City sit top of the table with six wins and a draw from seven games and appear to be a daunting prospect for Mark Hughes' men going into the Etihad Stadium showdown.
But Gundogan insists that they will not be taking the threat of Stoke lightly and are gearing up for a difficult examination.
He told City’s official website: "We will go into the game and prepare as we do for every match and treat it seriously because we are on a great run and we want to keep that going for as long as possible.
"I know Stoke are uncomfortable to play against and I know English people often refer to playing Stoke away as one of the toughest games of the season.
"My friend, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is there now and they have other talents like Xherdan Shaqiri, so they have real quality.”
He added: "Although I expect their first aim to be to defend, they will play football as well if they are allowed."